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JAN
25
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: January 25, 2017

By Luci Manning

Drexel Awarded $30 Million towards Community and Education Programs (The Triangle, Pennsylvania)

A $30 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education will be used to fight poverty and build a supportive community for young people in a West Philadelphia neighborhood. Drexel University will coordinate the initiative in partnership with the city of Philadelphia and area nonprofits. Philadelphia was one of six cities to be awarded the grant, according to The Triangle. “These grants will provide cradle-to-career support for at-risk children in communities across the country, offering meaningful resources that will help them achieve their potential,” Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. said in a statement.

County Schools Implements Program Giving Each Student an Extra Meal (Cullman Times, Alabama)

Starting this semester, all students at a handful of Cullman County Schools will be able to receive a free afterschool meal, regardless of need and whether they attend the school where the meal is served. “There are a lot of kids who are at school later in the day. All your athletic teams; the band; many of the extracurricular groups—when those kids stay for practice, they can have an extra meal without having to wait until they get home,” Chief School Financial Officer Ed Roberson told the Cullman Times. “It’s really just a great program for a lot of students, for a lot of reasons.”

Idaho Educators Should Capitalize on Opportunities during Nonschool Hours (Idaho Statesman, Idaho)

Writing in the Idaho Statesman, Idaho AfterSchool Network director Marie Hattaway urges state lawmakers to bolster out-of-school time programs in their policies: “Too often as we discuss quality education and its role in the future workforce, we just look to what is offered in the classroom.… It is imperative that policymakers and stakeholders consider partnerships with out-of-school programs to achieve statewide education goals, especially with STEM, workforce and literacy skills…. Idaho invests millions in education, millions in the 20 percent of time spent in the classroom. The other 80 percent of the time deserves strong consideration in state policies and budget. As the state strives to hit key educational benchmarks and goals, out-of-school time must not be overlooked.”

These Chessboards Are HUGE, and They’re Yours to Play with (Durango Herald, Colorado)

Students in the Durango Gametime afterschool and summer programs will learn to play chess and checkers on a large scale, thanks to the hard work and generosity of a 17-year-old Eagle Scout. Trever Snodgrass built the life-size chess and checkerboards himself and donated them to Chapman Hill, the Mason Center and the Durango Community Recreation Center as part of an Eagle Scout community service project, hoping they will ignite the youths’ imaginations. “When we first brought them in, the looks on their faces—it’s nice to know they’re enjoying it,” he told the Durango Herald. “I think the kids are going to love it.

NOV
7
2016

STEM
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New partnership will advance afterschool STEM policies

By Anita Krishnamurthi

The Afterschool Alliance is delighted to announce a new partnership with the Overdeck Family Foundation to advance afterschool STEM policy. We will be working with the statewide afterschool networks to achieve this goal, as many networks are already engaged in advancing afterschool STEM learning opportunities in their states. This new project will help us amplify our support to the state afterschool networks so they can advocate for a strong role for afterschool programs in their state’s ESSA implementation plans. 

The Overdeck partnership also allows us to support a smaller subset of statewide afterschool networks to deepen their work on advancing policies to support afterschool STEM programming via state level initiatives. We are thrilled to announce that we made awards to the following organizations for this initiative:

These six state networks demonstrated that the policy environment in their states is conducive for advancing afterschool STEM. We are partnering with the STEM Education Coalition, an influential national advocacy group for STEM education, to provide technical assistance to the statewide afterschool networks for this project. Through this collaboration, we will be providing regular STEM policy updates to the networks and working with them to provide tailored resources, such as the recent set of advocacy resources for afterschool/informal STEM. We will also broker partnerships between the Coalition’s members and state afterschool advocates, an often stated need of the networks. We are anticipating that these new partnerships will bring new influential STEM allies and voices into the afterschool conversation.

We are excited about this project and look forward to supporting the afterschool field with strong policies that will provide young people with greater access to high-quality afterschool STEM programming.

JAN
21
2016

IN THE FIELD
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"The First State" leads by example in the push for afterschool

By Jodi Grant

Executive Director Jodi Grant with Delaware House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst

I will forever remember 2015 as a year of momentous achievement for afterschool. Years of advocacy by the Afterschool Alliance and the afterschool field culminated in President Obama signing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law, protecting the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative and strengthening afterschool programs across the nation for years to come.

We can’t rest on our laurels for long. Even as the Department of Education begins determining how to implement ESSA and fund programs like 21st CCLC, too many students—almost 20 million nationwide—are still left without an afterschool program.

With a major national hurdle behind us, one way to continue expanding access to students in need is by renewing our focus on expanding afterschool and summer learning programs with our partners and afterschool advocates at the state level. Delaware, “The First State,” provides a stellar example of one such effort to expand afterschool.

NOV
16
2015

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: Connecting afterschool with healthy meals

By Guest Blogger

Saleah Blancaflor is an Afterschool and Summer Meals Expansion VISTA in New York State, working to connect students with afterschool meals to ensure New York’s kids are only Hungry to Learn.

As the Meals VISTA for Afterschool Works! NY: the New York State Afterschool Network, my role is to increase participation in the state of New York’s Child and Adult Food Care Program (CACFP), so that the state’s afterschool programs can receive funding and reimbursements for snacks and meals provided to their children. I’ve focused my efforts for this project on counties such as Broome, Tioga, Jefferson, Nassau and Westchester.

I work closely with the Department of Health as well as Hunger Solutions New York, a nonprofit organization with a mission to alleviate hunger throughout the state. The organization has been instrumental in providing me with information about which areas are in most need of my help and attention. Most of my work consists of conducting phone surveys with afterschool programs to confirm whether they are eligible for meals funding. If they are eligible, I connect them with the Department of Health and help initiate their application process.  

While reaching out to counties across New York, I have noticed that many programs are not aware that they are eligible to enroll for meal reimbursements. This leads afterschool programs to spend money that could have been invested elsewhere, had they received federal funding for the food they provide.  

OCT
1
2015

IN THE FIELD
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Statewide afterschool networks discuss investment

By Jillian Luchner

On Monday, September 28, the American Youth Policy Forum hosted a panel on "Increasing Investment in Afterschool: The Role of Statewide Afterschool Networks." On the panel were Jeff Cole from Beyond School Bells and the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, Michelle Doucette Cunningham of the Connecticut Afterschool Network, and Joe Davis of the Florida Afterschool Network. Each presenter discussed the initiatives in their state to support coordinated efforts toward gaining and sustaining investments in afterschool, summer and expanded learning programming.

A main message: state policy works best when it conforms to the culture of a particular state. Cunningham mentioned that Connecticut, while a small state, has 166 separate school systems each overseen by town governance rather than aggregated at the county level. Cole stated that Nebraska is unique in many ways, including its unicameral state legislature. Davis highlighted that Florida is one of a select number of states with Children’s Councils funded through a separate stream of local taxpayer dollars.

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learn more about: Events and Briefings State Networks
JUL
15
2015

RESEARCH
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The essential elements of citywide afterschool networks

By Jillian Luchner

The Wallace Foundation has published a must-read report for all policy makers and afterschool advocates. The new report, Growing Together, Learning Together updates a popular 2008 Report on citywide approaches to afterschool and summer learning. The update highlights four essential components of building a successful citywide system of afterschool support: strong leadership, coordination that fits the local context, effective use of data, and a comprehensive and inclusive approach to quality. While the report contends, “a well-built system is more than just the sum of its parts,” sustaining these collaborations has been challenging in the past. These systems require necessary conditions to ensure public support, dedicated funding and institutionalized policies and practices.

Fortunately, there are allies working to help citywide systems become more sustainable.  In particular, statewide afterschool networks and afterschool intermediaries were found to be “the most likely to play an important role in passing legislation to support better policies and more funding.” These exemplary policies will likely include some or all of the four components of afterschool system success that The Wallace Foundation highlights. A useful infographic on these elements of success can be found here.

Currently, 77 of the 275 largest U.S. cities have some type of system in place to coordinate afterschool programming. The Wallace Foundation focused specifically on nine cities to develop these findings. In its next round, the foundation plans to look at broader cross-sector partnerships with higher education, business and philanthropy as well as “collective impact” initiatives. 

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learn more about: State Networks Community Partners
APR
30
2015

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: Baltimore is not burning

By Guest Blogger

Ellie Mitchell is the Director of the Maryland Out of School Time Network.

The last few days in Baltimore have been disappointing though not shocking to any of us who live and work here. The media coverage as you might expect has sensationalized what have been high impact, but relatively isolated incidents of looting and property destruction.  There will be a high economic impact, an even greater emotional impact.  Hard to believe the Orioles played a game to an empty stadium yesterday.

Of greatest concern to us at the Maryland Out of School Time Network has been the involvement of young people and how the media has portrayed young people in Baltimore City.  We are working with a number of organizations to highlight the positive contributions of young people—many have been involved in the clean up—and to underscore how the lack of opportunity in the city has contributed to the sense of despair that is the precursor to this kind of violence.

On Monday morning, I was at the high school, Frederick Douglass, which is directly across from the mall where the altercation between police and students began.  I was working with a group of students who produce a TV show called Baltimore Pioneers.  I can tell you the full story about how students ended up engaging with police there has not been told.  On Monday afternoon as the worst of the incidents began, I was with a group of advocates at a press conference prior to a City Council hearing where the City Council voted unanimously to increase funding for out-of-school time and community school programming in the city, a positive step for the community.  The resolution is non-binding but is intended to send a message to the Mayor prior to her sending her budget to the City Council for approval.

Today we are focused on getting out in the community and providing support where we can and also thinking longer term about providing trauma informed care training, and participating in the forums to support youth voice and leadership.  Baltimore is just the most recent stop of this train.

To learn more about the important work being done by youth programs in Baltimore, visit MOST’s Facebook page, where they have highlighted some of the positive contributions young people are making in the community.

JAN
30
2015

IN THE FIELD
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Recapping the 2015 National Network Meeting

By Rachel Clark

The 2015 National Network Meeting had something for everyone.  Attendees heard from former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, as well as elected officials, members of the business community, officials from all levels of the education world, and more.  If Winter Storm Juno kept you away from Dallas—or if you just want to read more about the events—catch up on the conversation with our Storify.  

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learn more about: Events and Briefings State Networks